PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “Philadelphia is the saddest pro sports city in America right now.” That is the sentiment of USA Today sports blogger…and probably a few others.
Feel free to form your own opinion about the writer’s statement and the state of sports in this town. But before you do either, consider reading the article and, perhaps more importantly, consider the facts.
The Eagles are 4-7 after three consecutive losses, including two blowouts, to teams far from being considered contenders. That’s the exact opposite record most fans and experts envisioned the team having through 11 games after their overtime win in Dallas. It’s also far from the expectations many had for Chip Kelly’s birds coming out of the preseason. Instead of contending for the NFC East crown and possibly a Super Bowl, the Eagles are fighting reality. They’re not very good.
In less than three seasons, Kelly has gone from being a “football genius” to the guy who “doesn’t know how to coach in the NFL” and is taking much of the blame for the team’s failures. How the Eagles perform over the final five games could very well determine the coach’s fate. How many fans thought that was possible after Kelly’s first two seasons on the sidelines?
Sadly, the team might struggle to win another game this season. The trip to Foxborough, Massachusetts never looked inviting when the schedule was released, but how does Week 13 look now? If the Eagles want to silence the critics, a win against the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots would go a long way. Good luck!
The Eagles’ woes might be the only thing deflecting the attention away from the 76ers. The city’s pro basketball team has yet to win a game this season. Their 0-17 record leaves them one loss shy of tying the mark for worst start in NBA history (New Jersey Nets, 2009-2010) and two away from breaking it.
The team is also on pace to break their own mark for worst record in NBA history (for a full season), 9-73, set by the 1973 Sixers squad.
Wait, it gets worse! With their 27 consecutive defeats dating back to last season, the Sixers have set a record for most consecutive losses by a professional sports team in the United States.
Not much was expected of the Sixers this season, especially with the setback to Joel Embiid, but it was still realistic to think the franchise would begin showing some signs of growth, that Sam Hinkie’s plan would start to take shape. Sadly, it has…bad shape. Is there a Plan B?
But the Sixers’ troubles aren’t just isolated to the court. Rookie center Jahlil Okafor was involved in a fight outside of a Boston nightclub early Thursday morning following the team’s loss to the Celtics.
Okafor, the Sixers third overall draft pick, figures to be a big part of the organization’s future. He is among several promising young players on the roster. How those players develop remains to be seen. Meantime, fans can be optimistic knowing things can only get better for the 76ers. Right?
The Flyers also have a lot of young talent. Their minor league system, once with very little to look towards, has been replenished with prospects in recent years thanks to a stockpile of draft picks and last season’s futility. The problem is the team is in a bad way with the salary cap situation.
General Manager Ron Hextall inherited a handful of big contracts and bad deals when he took over for Paul Holmgren last year. Now, Hextall is left trying to free up cap room and roster spots for that young, affordable talent. Instead of rebuilding and progressing with some future pieces, the Flyers seem stuck in neutral with some expensive, fading veterans, whose contracts are difficult to move.
After missing the playoffs last season, the orange and black find themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and tied for the second fewest wins in the league. Their last two wins have come thanks to a pair of overtime goals from the man known as the “Ghost,” rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. That’s great, until you realize that his three goals are two more than star forward Jakub Voracek has this season. Sadly, Voracek has been the real ghost.
It’s been proven in the NHL, recently by the Flyers themselves, that anything can happen if you can just find your way into the 16-team tournament. Accomplishing that starts first with finding your way in the regular season. Stay tuned.
And, of course, there’s not much debate about which team is the worst in baseball. If you are what your record indicates, than the Phillies (63-99) are, without question, awful.
In 2015, manager Ryne Sandberg, the man the organization couldn’t seem to replace Charlie Manuel with fast enough, was fired after parts of three seasons. A few months later came the dismissal of team General Manager Ruben Amaro Junior.
Not much can be said for a team when some of the few bright spots in a season include trading ace pitcher Cole Hamels for prospects after throwing a no-hitter and, sadly enough, avoiding that historic 100th loss. Baby steps.
For all of the suffering this past summer, fans can look forward to the Phillies having first overall pick in the baseball draft. In fact, if the Eagles, Sixers and Flyers continue their woeful ways, it’s not unrealistic to think all four Philadelphia teams could land the top pick in their sport’s respective drafts. Failing upwards.
Finally, it should be noted that the Philadelphia sports team currently with the best winning percentage in 2015, despite finishing with the worst record in the league, is, in fact, the Phillies.
Now that’s sad.